5 Must-Visit Delhi Heritage Sites with Kids!

No, I am not a mommy blogger or an expert in parenting issues. I am a parent, one who blogs about travel and loves exploring the heritage sites of the capital with my pre-teen! 
I treat each holiday, weekend as a way to acquaint my son with new gems of architectural, historical an historic significance in and around Delhi. Better than spending time, money and energy in a mall right? I have been to, along with my son in tow, to museums, baghs, mausoleums, churches, libraries and galleries across the city. So come along with us on five must see places in Delhi, that you have to visit on your next trip home or sojourn to the city!
In Qudsia Bagh 
Sunder Nursery
the16thcentury 90-acre heritage garden project-the Sunder Nursery. Once an ensemble of enclosed Mughal gardens; within the Sunder Nursery-Batashewalacomplex, stand 15 monuments including tombs, garden pavilions, wells and even a 16th century lotus pond. Enveloped in a symmetrical sanctuary inside, you encounter the mausoleums of Sunder BurjSunderwala Mahaland Lakkarwala Burj; the pavilion tomb of a son-in-law of emperor Akbar’s- Mirza Muzaffar Hussain, Chotta Batashewalatomb and an unknown Mughal tombinthe adjoining Batashewalacomplex. Visit it around evening in summers and in the mornings during winter. Ideal for picnicking amidst the marvel of mughal architecture and serenity in the heart of the city! Entry when we went was free, there might be now a minimal fee.
A Persian Carpet of water and greens- Pic Courtesy- AKTC

National Philatelic Museum
The National Philatelic Museum is located at the Dak Bhawan on Sansad Marg and is also operated by the department of Post. It is on the ground floor of the building, and underwent a redevelopment in 2011. It now hosts an amphitheater for presentations and discussions, a library and a designated space for  artists at work. The Museum has displayed a number of frames in which exhibits of stamps are placed neatly. There are first covers, air mail model on display and also one can purchase old inland letters, and postcards as souvenirs.  Entry is free and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Plus, it's a stone throw's away from Jantar Mantar on Janpath. Go!
Retell the story of the letterBox at the Museum
The Tomb of Safdar Jung
Adjacent to the much foot-falled, Lodhi gardens, is another marvel tucked away from the lazy eye. The Tomb of Safdar Jung. The imposing marble and red sandstone mausoleum was built in 1754, for the statesman of the Mughal empire -Safdarjung. With a tree lined avenue leading up to the architectural delight- it's a quick visit thing with a hop across to the Jor Bagh , the Book shop, should you wish! A nominal fee is charged for an adult and the kiddo is free, carry some snacks to munch your way into history. 
The symmetry of the garden is unbelievable!
Qudsia Bagh 
Situated in the Civil lines area of north Delhi, it is a garden complex that was construted in 1748 The complex was constructed in the 18th century for the mother of Ahmad Shah Bahadur, Qudsia Begum. So what you get to see is a sprawling garden, much in disrepair but also the Shahi mosque, the stables with British and Mughal influences in architecture and the grand entrance . Go for a see of what was lost....especially after the 1857 rebellion.
The Maidens Hotel, Civil Lines
The capital abounds in structures that bear legacy of the colonial architectural features. One such heritage hotel is the Maidens at Civil lines . With its Corinthian pillars in palatial, high ceiling foyer, housing typical arches with a winding wooden staircase overlooking the grand entrance, this is ideal setting for some culinary satiation along with the revisiting of the era gone by. All under the majestic dome of the Maidens! Bon App├ętit!
Inside the Maidens 
A hearty breakfast post a heavy history trip! 
Of course there are many more vistas of Delhi's history left out. Apart from the space constraints to cover all in one go, theres also the thing of what I enjoyed the most .. take your pick and add yours! 
Also, I feel these places are ideal for even kids as young as eight if they have already been introduced to such nuggets earlier, else, I would highly recommend some pre-reading on the places on your itinerary, by you and the kiddo, both. Preparing the child for the trip, expected number of breaks in between, the hours to be spent sight seeing and a post note or a chat about the trip are some things I do to make the experience more long-lasting and meaningful. so next time  you have a day off, make it work for both, you and the kid- please avoid the mall, unless of course it is for MI Fallout! Happy sojourning and let me know which place you checked into.

Sleeveless in the City No More!

While the fashion fraternity fulminates over the Bollywoodisation of fashion on the ramp- to which I agree, I have tried to focus on trends and not the person, in my posts. 
Culling out a set of sleeves from the recently concluded ICW '18, in the capital and Manish Malhotra's Zween, Couture show in Mumbai. So, if you're looking for Bollywood showstoppers in this post, please look elsewhere.
The focus, this fashion season, is clearly on reinventing the sleeve, in all its forms and like how! From bell, ruffle, flounce, balloon to flared, the sleeve is having a fashion moment here! Have a see of sleeveless no more....
A Maiden's Prayer-Anju Modi
Crystalis -Amit Aggarwal 
Naintara-Suneet Varma 
Nostalgia-Pallavi Jaiksihan

In Elysium-Tarun Tahiliani 
Zween- Manish Malhotra
Amour De Junagarh -Shane and Falguni Peacock 

Your favourite?

Smoothies Recipe by Hwealth Cafe


(all solid units in kgs) (liquid measures in ml)
Toned milk

Vanilla protein powder 1 measure Coffee powder 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder pinch
Ice cubes medium

220 ml 0.020 0.003 0.002 3 nos.
1. Combine all ingredients except cinnamon powder in a blender for about 40-50 seconds. 2. Pour into a glass. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder on top mint spring & serve.
(all solid units in kgs) (liquid measures in ml)

Toned milk

Chocolate protein powder 1 measure Peanut butter 1 tbsp
Ice cubes medium


200 ml 0.020 0.01

3 nos.
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender for about 40-50 seconds. 2. Pour into a glass. Garnish with mint on top & serve.
(all solid units in kgs) (liquid measures in ml)

Toned milk

Strawberry protein powder Frozen strawberry
Frozen blueberries
Ice cubes medium

180 ml 0.020 0.020 0.030 3 nos.
1. Combine all ingredients except mint leaf in a blender for about 40-50 seconds. 2. Pour into a glass. Garnish with mint leaf on top & serve.

Busting Probiotic Myths with Yakult!

In these challenging times, life is on a fast track with unbalanced diet, stress, lack of physical activity, irregular working hours and pollution, each one of these factors has taken its toll on our health. It is also a known fact that lifestyle disorders like obesity and diabetes and Non-Communicable Diseases like cancer are on the  rise. In an exclusive blogger familiarisation for select folk-Yakult, India, organised an information packed day, on all things Probiotics, at their Delhi Headquarters. 
The Insider with Dr Neerja Hajela and fellow Bloggers 
Why Probiotics?
With a focus on 'Prevention being better than Cure' the spotlight is on good bacteria, or Probiotics”. So, these act by favorably modulating the gut microbiota and result in improvement of health and prevention of diseaseDetailing the nuances of Probiotics, Dr Neerja Hajela, Head – Science and Regulatory Affairs, Yakult Danone India Pvt. Ltd. says, “Increasingly it is becoming clear that the gut microbiome and its associated metabolites are involved in obesity, autoimmune disorders, neurological diseases, cancer, childhood undernutrition, and immunity to both enteric and systemic infections among others.”
I take this opportunity to ask her pertinent questions around the topic! 

Curd, yogurt buttermilk are traditionally consumed for gut health in India. Are they probiotics? Why/Why not?

Curd, yoghurt and buttermilk are traditional fermented foods that are consumed for their nutritional value like Protein, Calcium, Vitamins  etc. They are not true probiotics since they are  fermented using different types of lactic acid bacteria whose number and types are unknown. These bacteria are not tested for their ability to reach the intestine live in large numbers to impart scientifically proven health benefits.

Probiotics on the other hand contain high concentration of a unique lactic acid bacteria that has been tested for its ability to reach the intestine live and impart scientifically proven health benefits. Most probiotics help to improve  intestinal health and build immunity. They, therefore ensure that the intestine is functioning well to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Probiotics also help to build immunity since about 70% of the immune cells are found in the intestine and therefore reduce the risk of disease.   

Therefore the concept of probiotics, which although available in the form of dairy products, is based on strengthening the intestine to absorb nutrients from foods including traditional fermented foods making the two categories very different.   

What does it take for a product to became  a natural pro-biotic? Fermentation?

Probiotic bacteria have to be tested for their ability  to tolerate the harsh acidic environment of the stomach and reach the intestine live in large numbers ( normally more than 1 billion). Once in the intestine they improve the environment, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria that are absolutely essential for digestion of food, absorption of nutrients. These bacteria also play an important role in building immunity and reducing the risk of disease. 

To achieve the said number of probiotic bacteria in any product the fermentation procedures are long and tedious and are very strictly controlled for their temperature, pH, acidity levels etc. Probiotic products are therefore produced in very strict environments and cannot be made using the normal fermentation procedures like those used at home to make traditional fermented foods.

And no the most important of them all...

How is Yakult trying to minimise its use of plastic bottles in its packaging.
Yakult’s philosophy is to provide health and happiness and therefore we will not do anything that will disturb or destroy the environment in India. We will soon be indicating the kind of plastic( not multi-layer plastic) that we use for manufacturing our product so that it can be recycled and reused. We have  also indicated the Garbage bin mark which is a plea to the consumer to discard the bottle in the right place i.e. dustbins. We are also in the process of evaluating how best we can recycle plastic bottles and limit plastic use for packaging and distribution although the current PS bottles are strong and ideal to keep the probiotic fermented milk drink safe and also are a part of our manufacturing process in the world and therefore difficult to replace. It may take some time till we can develop any alternative materials for our bottles. We care about people and believe in keeping the environment clean and will be taking all measures to ensure that we can contribute to making India not just a healthy but a clean country.

Reiterating the scientific heritage of Yakult, Dr. Hajela added, “Yakult contains 6.5 billion Lactobacillus caseistrain Shirota that has been tested for its ability to improve digestion and build immunity by increasing the activity of Natural Killer cells that attack viruses and cancer cells. One of the largest community based study that was conducted on approx. 4000 children in the age group of 1- 5 years at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata showed that consumption of Yakult for 12 weeks resulted in 14% reduction in incidence of diarrhoea. This was a very useful finding especially in country like India where diarrhoea kills 3 lakh children every year.”
Did you know?
This iconic brand sells more than 3.5 crore bottles everyday in 38 countries and regions. To address the growing demand and in line with the needs of the Indian consumer, there is now a Yakult Light which is a sister product of the signature Yakult product and contains the same unique probiotic, Lactobacillus caseistrain Shirota (LcS), in the same amount (6.5 billion). With reduced sugar and Vitamin D and E, Yakult Light caters for the daily needs of the health conscious and is suitable for all age groups. It contains less sugar and calories owing to the use of a sweetener of natural origin, Steviol Glycoside.
Go ahead and include Yakult in your daily life and ensure strong immunity! I have!

A Historical Evening at The Book Shop

An evening with William Dalrymple -historian, writer, curator, critic. An exploration of Koh-i-Noor, and why it continues to remain something that both nations and individuals deeply care about. 
The fact that The Book Shop in the Jor Bagh market is a quaint, little (literally) charming, overflowing with books, shop; mandated a registration and a curated guest list for the event! A meeting the writer, curator, critic, historical narrative writer and history revivalist, William Dalrymple was on the cards. Once there, in his signature white cotton or is it mull...Pathani suit, he was greeted by an impromptu  applause, also for his arrival on time, methinks.
The author then politely decreed that the discussion would be on the retelling of the history of Koh-hi.noor- and why so many nations care so deeply about it. It wouldn't be on the writing process- or a writer’s process or his craft. Clever move, I say. Who wants to field amateur, author’s aspirational and mostly long winded questions.  Before the discussion turned towards Neil Furgusson and Douglas Murray  (If you're interested in a fascinating debate, Murray and Dalrymple were a part of sometime back, on, We Should Not be Reluctant to Assert the Superiority of Western Values- that's equally relevant now- Watch here) and towards the generic viewing of history and historical facts- the author took us on the sojourn to the brilliant, storytelling of his part of the writing in the book.

Having read and reviewed the book- on the blog- (Here read it!) I did underline the fact that the sections written independently by Dalrymple and Anita Anand, offered a different reading experience to the reader. No prizes for guessing which retelling gets my vote! 
Holding court
 ( pic courtesy The Book Shop, Jor Bagh, Delhi)
As a response to my submission, he did acknowledge that his wife Olivia, tried to patch up the two styles, but at the end of the day the voices are way too different. I would have personally liked Dalrymple to do the honours to the second too. He replied to my questions on how much of fictionalising of history happens when one is relaying it as an engaging story- 'remaining true to the facts is essential he highlighted.' I probed if the book made a great screen adaptation-Hmm.. not sure if that was addressed...  I guess we'll have to wait and watch- Netflix maybe?  

Dancing with Ruskin!

When you face a writer’s block, a good look and read of the Lone Fox DancingSpeaking Tiger, Ruskin Bond’s autobiography will help you get over it. How? By reminding you that life’s simple pleasures are free and inspiration may just be round the corner.
It is as much a traversing of his personal journey as it is a tracking of the writers’ life and pen. Perseverance, getting up when the chips are down and soaring higher, finding peace in solitude while yearning for companionship, loneliness in boyhood and solitude in adulthood as he puts it- all find sufficient ink in is book.
Your thoughts on the setting?
It is a book worthy of adorning your bookshelf even when you know much of Bond’s life and times, as you have been an avid guzzler of his books right from the ‘The Room on the Roof’. Rusty, Somi, Haripal, Daljit Krishen and Sushila et al, a motely, lively bunch that inhabited the writer’s world along with Ms Bun, Mr Muller and the many quasi-fictional maharajas and maharani, retired generals, vagrants in the valley (also a title of a book) that creep into his book- form a part of his autobiography.
Good to know, by his own admission, he does choose to sheath some details of his life away from the prying public eye too. Dwelling vividly on his early childhood, especially of the bond that he shared with his dad, when left mostly to his devices, as his mother had moved away by then. The indulgent father’s sketch emerges from the child’s eye and memory. Their fond trips to the cinemas, theatre, ice creams at Gaylords and Kwalitys etc., are the relief that comes before the morose and a dry account of the drudgery and dullness of young Bond’s stint in England, doing odd jobs along with a relaying of a concomitant struggle as a writer. The strained relationship with his immediate family and the resentment with the step brothers and father came to a boil in the sweltering heat of Delhi-only heightened by the cramped quarters of Patel Nagar and Rajouri Garden.
If you are Ruskin fan, as I am, you wouldn’t find many things new or revelatory in this one. But you will marvel yet again at the author’s reflective scenic descriptions or emotive sensitivity in sketching the characters. However, some characters are new and newer still is the description of his foray into odd jobs that he picks up to sustain himself. There is a simplicity of prose that is herd to find these days. He rightly calls himself a haberdasher of myriad wares, his wares here being words! 
It is a story of how tenacity in a writer’s life is of prime importance and how lilies and crickets at night and grasshoppers may well provide you the necessary material for a novel – read dialogues and content. How nature and mountains are the last refuge of a sensitive soul and more importantly, how you don’t need much to get by – to live – really live before you die- literally! 
A book that is a celebration of classy, gentle self deprecation, of wit and an objectivity and honesty that’s hard to come by in today’s writing. Of gentle souls and hardy ones, of tenacious broads and bawdy lawyers; of affairs of men and men’s affairs, of a slice of life from the hilly terrain, vividly painted as they appear to be in a kaleidoscope of panorama- of characters that could be well be you and I. 

LoneFox Dancing
Ruskin Bond
Speaking Tiger

What’s cooking KFC?

He is feisty, he is entertaining, he is unapologetically confident and now he is in India! No, not Jim Carrey- but the indian version of Col Sanders, the founder of the fast food chain KFC. 

A celebratory evening in the land of (I'd say, one of) the tastiest chicken in the world saw The Insider strutting at the red carpet gala. Caught up with Moksh Chopra, Director Marketing, KFC India who talked about the brand's philosophy, how KFC is a brand that has retained its original flavour and how some flavours haven't made the cut for the Indian palate yet.
Make Way for Col Sanders 
“What makes KFC stand out is our finger lickin’ good food. With KFC Land, we wanted to ensure our communication was as unique as our food. Isn’t it fascinating to imagine a land full of chicken-lovers, that is united by its citizens’ love for chicken? That’s what KFC Land is – our new advertising platform to communicate the KFC Brand story in an interesting, distinct way. Over the months ahead, you’re going to hear about our new launches, activations, offers and all other brand initiatives through this platform. And of course, we kickstart this by introducing chicken lovers in India to our founder, Colonel Sanders. And that’s really what today is all about.”
The ambience was abuzz with chicken graffiti- a scrabble game, photo frame wall shanging with chicken commandments, a tissue box with none in it- coz the chicken is fingerlickin' good! 

KFC Team!
The all new brand campaign ‘KFC Land’ rolled out earlier this month with the launch of the TVC where Colonel takes consumers on a thrilling ride, giving them a sneak-peak of the Land, all with a foot-tapping groovy beat. Within the first few seconds, the film grabs viewers’ attention as they drool over the Colonel biting into a piece of crispy juicy chicken. Viewers will also get a glimpse of the closely guarded vault that possibly hides KFC's biggest secret – Colonel's Original Recipe. 
In case you are wondering who this Indian Sanders is, well, it's the Anglo-Indian theatre actor Denzil Smith. Though, I was looking out for a plumper version of the colonel yet, he seamlessly plays the part, bringing alive the persona of the beloved Colonel.
In the midst of celebratory confetti I asked Moksh, if tweaking flavours retained any of the brand's original stamp? 'Our flavours are authentic to the  secret recipe, especially the crispy chicken. Some tweaking may be required to suit people of different nationalities. The fact that we have very little completion in this segment goes to show its larger appeal.' 

FYI:Colonel Harland Sanders, who created a finger lickin’ good recipe more than 75 years ago, a list of secret herbs and spices scratched out on the back of the door to his kitchen. Today the formula is still with real cooks breading and freshly preparing the chicken by hand in more than 20,000 restaurants in over 125 countries and territories around the world. 
Guess who?
Up beat about the brand's latest positioning- I was assured of the safety of the oils used in preparation and also of the taste that remains, finger lickin' good!